A chauffeur driven Mercedes S500 with armed and robust body guards at my beck and call. Who would not want it? This is the question many Kenyans are asking and wondering in disbelief from a man mandated to practice servant-leadership. Maraga clearly stated that it is the Kenyan people he is serving but is now issuing threats of no service delivery if he is not upgraded and awarded due ‘status’ as he has observed in other countries, all at the expense of taxpayers’ money.
Another Sh14 million sleek Land cruiser V8 is always under Maraga’s beck and call, that comes with a customized number plate and a chauffeur with bodyguards. However, ‘the mighty man of the judiciary in his self-glorification says that is belittling his nature and status. “Where are the outriders?” he roars angrily. “Kenyans must know and acknowledge me when am in their midst!”
The mighty Maraga wants Kenyans to know when he is passing, with a siren and outriders cruising their way as they cruise around the Capital, the wider Kenya or even in his hometown Kisii as he inspects the numerous court constructions he envisions must be built despite the fact that Sh290 million has so far been wasted without any form of accountability to indicate where the money went. It is no misfit that Maraga wanted to be a self-proclaimed President through the Judiciary coup after annulment of the presidential election but fate had it that Kenya would not plunge into such chaos and confusion.
The Maraga rant is unwarranted as all institutions and parastatals are facing budget cuts. All he is vouching for is the sympathy of Kenyans after coming to the realization that Kenyans have seen the ‘real face’ of the Judiciary. A judiciary full of corrupt judges and magistrates sitting under the Maraga umbrella as they are sure their ‘corrupt deals’ will not be curtailed. Moreover, coming from a non-performing Chief Justice issuing threats to Kenyans that there will be no service delivery is an act of irresponsibility.
Interestingly, as Maraga claims that he was speaking for the Judiciary but the ‘I’s had it for the morning. In most occasions, Maraga live pressers are usually characterized by a parade of the Judicial Service Commission officials right behind him. However, Monday’s address showed a lone man fighting for his own selfish interests. Where was the Judicial Service Commission? Where was the corrupt Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.
Kenyans let us not be fooled by a self-glorified individual. Respect is earned and never demanded. The chickens have come to roost and if Maraga cannot face the pressure and start performing by first dealing with corrupt judges, he must resign! But of course, we all heard it from the horse’s mouth, ‘I CANNOT RESIGN!’
Kenyans need service delivery and will not be manipulated by Maraga threats! Serve Kenyans and stop the empty rhetoric.
Deputy President William Ruto appears to have taken a cue from his political mentor, former President Daniel arap Moi, by adopting a grassroots campaign strategy, which he hopes to use as the launching pad for his 2022 presidential bid.
Ruto, who hopes to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, has been engaging directly with ordinary people with the aim of creating a strong grassroots network, which he intends to activate during his campaigns.
Moi is known for his elaborate political network, which he built using the then ruling party Kanu operatives and the provincial administration.
Lately, the DP has been photographed eating in roadside kiosks, entering manyattas and grass-thatched houses in rural areas and attending functions, which may be regarded as too “local” in a move calculated to endear himself to the ordinary voter.
Yesterday, Ruto had a busy day in Nyeri county, attending two church functions before sharing lunch with residents of Ruguru location in Mathira. Area MP Rigathi Gachagua hosted him.
Speakers at the gatherings encouraged him to continue with his countrywide tours, saying it was the only way to understand reality on the ground.
Although opinion is divided whether Ruto’s strategy will deliver results, it is a potential game changer.
Gatundu MP Moses Kuria, his Kimilili counterpart Didmus Barasa and former Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire yesterday told People Daily the grassroots strategy could benefit the DP.
“The strategy has sustained him. He is going directly to the people who vote. Kenyan voters love warmth and closeness,” said Kuria.
“The DP addressed more than 10,000 people in Mathira yesterday. He may pick a good chunk and replicate the same countrywide. The only challenge is that the man is currently racing against himself. It is too early. The picture will be clearer when the President hits the ground with the Building Bridges Initiative,” said Kuria.
Ruto’s allies have sent strong signals that they will oppose the initiative expected to come up with proposals that could alter the country’s power structure.
On Friday, he mocked his opponents “for sitting pretty in Nairobi waiting for leadership to fall on them”.
“I would like to tell some of my friends who are resting in Nairobi that leadership doesn’t come easily. That is why I am busy moving around delivering the projects we promised Kenyans in 2017,” he said.
According to Bosire, Ruto’s Moi-style “direct and speed interaction” with ordinary Kenyans could work for or disadvantage him.
“By going around dishing goodies in the name of implementing development projects, the DP is taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of poor and hungry people, who are likely to look up to him as a saviour.
He is depicting himself as a down-to-earth leader who understands the conditions of the ordinary people. By misleading people, he might harvest here and there,” Bosire said.
The former MP thinks the plan could be counter-productive as it projects the DP as a defiant and impatient man with a strong sense of entitlement.
“He has been running around alone campaigning against the advice of his boss and has built an alternative centre of power. He might find himself unable to move around if his boss finds him a liability,” he added.
But Barasa thinks Ruto’s trips will translate into votes.
“The difference between Raila Odinga and the DP’s tours is that while Raila is telling riddles, Ruto is preaching development,” the MP said.
Women legislators allied to DP Ruto referring to themselves as ‘Inua Mama Initiative’ during one of their grassroots visits. Photo/Courtesy
The DP has been working with friendly MPs to organise political gatherings under the guise of launching projects and attending church services.
Some of the functions – he can hold five in a day – end with rallies. The DP has also been hosting the clergy and political leaders at his Karen and Uasin Gishu residences.
Lately, the DP is hardly at his workstation in Harambee Annex. Since July 1, he has graced at least 139 events in 34 counties, which include launching county or CDF projects, an inspection of national projects, funerals, homecoming parties, weddings and church services.
Moreover, he has attended graduation functions in at least four polytechnics in the past two months.
His boss, the President, has not been excited by the flurry of political activity as associated with his deputy, who he has unsuccessfully asked to stop early campaigns, in what he once termed as “kutanga tanga” (loitering around). The DP used the term to advance his tours.
Inua Mama Initiative members during their grassroot visit. Photo/Courtesy
Like Moi, the DP has recruited foot soldiers in almost every constituency who are responsible for planning his events. He has also assembled an army of bloggers who flood social media spaces with messages that push his agenda.
Besides, Ruto has also deployed his son, Nick, who has visited parts of the country to raise funds in churches as he rallies support for his father. In the past two months, Nick, a businessman, has been to Mombasa and Siaya counties for harambees.
In addition to his own tours, the DP has formed the Inua Mama grouping, which comprises women leaders backing him and is reported to be financing their grassroots activities.
In return, the women leaders sell his 2022 bid to beneficiaries of their activities.
During the last four months, he has been to Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Bomet, Kericho, Nandi, West Pokot, Kisii, Kakamega, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Kirinyaga, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Nakuru, Laikipia, Marsabit, Turkana and Samburu counties.
MPs allied to DP Ruto while visiting one of the churches in the country. Photo/Courtesy
He has also visited Narok, Kajiado, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Kitui, Vihiga, Busia, Bungoma, Migori and Nyamira counties. Sometimes he crisscrosses two or three counties in one day.
For instance, between September 12 and 16, Ruto had 21 events in Tana River, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Kwale and Mombasa counties that have been opposition strongholds. Most of the events were organised by Woman Reps or MPs allied to him.
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, a fierce Ruto critic, says the DP’s visits are futile unless he creates a good relationship with regional kingpins who are key factors in a presidential election.
For instance, according to Ngunjiri, no matter how many trips Ruto makes to Mt Kenya region, without Uhuru’s endorsement in 2022, “whatever he is doing is a waste of time and resources”.
“If the President was to make an announcement against him, that would be the end of him because Uhuru’s influence will determine the political direction the region will take. If he says it’s not Ruto all his visits will be in vain,” Ngunjiri said.
But political analyst Dismas Mokua thinks Ruto’s strategy “will definitely work in his favour”.
He argues that in Africa, the familiarity of a candidate is a key factor, and that is what Ruto is doing.
This, Mokua said, is why Ruto’s foot soldiers have since the 2017 election constantly organised visits, especially in areas where he is deemed “unwanted” so that he can create familiarity and forge a relationship with voters.
The practice of journalism in Kenya has tremendously grown however, the issue of ethics has proven to be a jargon to those who are in practice. Simplistically ethics in media entails providing information that is true, accurate and fair; avoiding biasness especially on matters of public interest. It is about integrity and giving your audience factual information and not that which is construed through lies. But what happens when a whole media house is hellbent on pushing propaganda, feeding Kenyans with lies as a strategy to pursue personal interests of employees? Where are the checks and balances if the top leadership right from the Chief editor intentionally provide falsified information without any verification?
From giving Kenyans false information on the Standard Gauge railway to glorifying corruption, the Standard media group have engaged in cheap propaganda. Over the years, the media house has been on a downward trend in sales as well and advertising revenue as they have lost clout over their audiences and being overtaken by other media houses. This is especially because of their biasness in reportage as well as openly lying to Kenyans through their newspaper articles.
The Standard Media Group openly lied to Kenyans preaching gloom and doom for various government projects and initiatives that are set to catapult the country towards a middle-class economy. For instance, a one Dominic Omondi in all his articles dwells on creating fear in the country based on unverified figures and giving his own estimates without verified statistical figures. He is common in using phrases that skew facts and ultimately distorts reality. In one of the articles the said reporter mentioned that there were 545 stalled projects valued at Sh365.9 billion as of June 2018 yet he intentionally fails to mention these ‘stalled projects’ and yet in the same article bashes the SGR which currently has two phases complete with the recent Phase 2 having being opened in October.
This is no surprise from the media house as they have over the past five years been making desperate moves in a bid to recoup their lost glory. With rising competition from other media houses, they have struggled with marketing of their print and digital media as more advertisers turn away to other media houses. In their desperation Standard media Group back in 2016, hired Denis Galava as Chief Editor immediately he was fired at Nation Media Group. An expert propagandist, Galava had become a liability towards Nation Media Group’s reputation as they were shunning propaganda, having well invested in digital media to move its products.
As journalism is business, standard media group, has grown to become the breadbasket of lies and falsified information more so becoming a tabloid or the street name of ‘gutter press’. Paying total disregard to the code of conduct for journalist some of which are provide in the Media Act, this man Denis Galava was able to propagate lies to make sales continuously pursuing his personal vendetta against the government. Indeed the lies worked for the media house whose sales then increased from a circulation of 50000 to 70000.
Despite letting him go, Dennis Galava was recently rehired as the standard media print circulation tumbled again. The newspaper is based on lies as journalists are instructed to be sensational in their reportage with no need of verification of facts. It is a free far all media house so long as the figures make sense at the close of business. With zero strategy on maintaining its market the media house is convinced that propaganda is their road to success.
Consultation and review is a requirement before a story is published but if the chief editor and journalists in a media house are affiliated to politicians and accept to be used who will save Kenyans from these paltry of lies? The media needs to give information that is authentic and verified without creating animosity, hatred towards individual, communities or leaders. It is about giving the true facts and not swaying the public towards a certain direction. Will riding on controversy and propaganda catapult standard media to selling more newspapers and gaining clout? Is that their ultimate marketing strategy? Let us stop buying the lies!
Corrupted economies are not able to function properly because corruption prevents the natural laws of the economy from functioning freely. As a result, corruption in a nation’s political and economic operations causes its entire society to suffer.
Deputy President William Ruto recently was badly trolled after he was quoted saying that “corruption cannot stop a leader from delivering their mandate” during a live interview with Citizen TV’s Hussein Mohammed at his Karen home.
Contrary to this assertion by a sitting Deputy President who is supposed to be assisting his boss fight corruption; Corruption compromises people’s futures and their development. It also costs a fortune. Rampant corruption will drain any economy of the resources needed for projects like infrastructure development, manufacturing, health, education among others.
Kenya signified its commitment in the fight against corruption by becoming the first country in the world to ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption in December 2003 in Merida, Mexico. This was after becoming a signatory to the AU Convention on Preventing and combating Corruption in 2003 Kenya later ratified the AU Convention in 2007. In 2004, a National Anti-corruption Steering Committee was established to complement KACC in the fight against corruption.
Kenya, however, has been plagued by a long list of corruption scandals. One of the more infamous was the Goldenberg heist which occurred in the 1990s during then-President Daniel Moi’s tenure.
Yet, the looting of public coffers is more commonly reported in recent times and the amounts involved are growing. During May and June 2018, reports about grand corruption dominated Kenyan news.
This haemorrhaging of public funds will do enormous damage to the country’s already struggling economy. The scourge of corruption in Kenya must be urgently addressed otherwise it could bring the economy to its knees.
Corruption has driven Kenya’s job situation into the abyss. It has become endemic! Businesses have cited prevalent corruption as one of the biggest obstacles to investment and eventually job creation.
In the past TWO months, at least six companies have signalled staff layoffs, which come with economic ripple effects given the number of dependents that rely on the close to 2,000 people set to lose their jobs.
East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC), Telkom Kenya, Stanbic Bank of Kenya and East African Breweries Limited (EABL) has already notified employees of the looming layoffs, citing the need to trim their payrolls. Two other banks are said to have issued similar notices this week.
Corruption issue became worse when even politicians who are entrusted with public offices became so greedy and they started looting money meant for the public for their own private use. The president throughout 2017 and 2018 gave tough warnings to corrupt officials and at the same time, he has persuaded Kenyans to join hands towards the fight against corruption.
Uhuru Kenyatta recently said his administration’s war on corruption cost him supporters but vowed nonetheless to continue efforts to stamp out graft. In the last few months, the public prosecutor has ordered the arrest of current and former public officials on charges including abuse of office, conspiracy to steal public funds, and fraudulent compensation claims for land use.
Responding to those who called him with complaints, Kenyatta said he told them it was vital to fight impunity to achieve the dream of a better Kenya. “A time has come for us to fight impunity. A time has come for every Kenyan to realize no matter how powerful you think you are or how much money you have… That will not save you.”
Political will is the single most important ingredient to fight corruption. It has worked in Botswana and Rwanda, and in other countries like Singapore.
Kenya has the legal frameworks necessary to fight corruption, and luckily, we now have a president that is demonstrating the political will to fight corruption and quite frankly has the space to do so given that he is not running for office again.
What we need is to sustain that will until the people believe it is not a passing phase or cloud, demonstrate convictions in the cases being prosecuted to make the price too costly and painful, and inculcate a sense of anti-corruption in our society
A Kenyan governor accused of corruption was ordered to step down during his trial; a minister and his deputy were arraigned in court for alleged abuse of office. Kenyans are not used to such things.
The anti-graft campaign has seen big names in Kenyan Pipeline Company, National Health Insurance Fund, and the National Cereals and Produce Board being arraigned in court to face corruption-related charges.
DCI George Kinoti and DPP Noordin Haji when they met the head of the Public Integrity Section at the US Department of Justice, Ms. Annalou Tirol. (Courtesy)
The landmark ruling by a Kenyan judge that Kiambu County Governor Ferdinand Waititu must step aside during his trial is widely seen by governance experts as a victory in the fight against corruption in Kenya. The ruling could set the stage for other corruption cases in a country where powerful politicians and government officials accused of graft generally continue to occupy the office.
“It’s a precedent in the Kenyan legal system because for the first time, the court spelled out the actions to be taken against a senior official who is facing criminal charges in court,” Peter Wendo, a political analyst and project adviser with the Rule of Law Program for sub-Saharan Africa at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Nairobi
Former CS Henry Rotich, PS Thugge among others in court over graft charges PHOTO/COURTESY
In the past, such people were taken to court but then “the matter just ends without any convictions,” Wendo said. That’s because the suspects still had access to their offices which meant they could easily influence the witnesses and interfere with the investigations.
According to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Waititu is being accused of irregularly awarding tenders worth 588 million Kshs (5 million euros, $5.6 million ), to companies associated with the governor or members of his immediate family. He has denied any wrongdoing and argues that he can account for every cent.
Outgoing Kenya Pipeline Company Managing Director Joe Sang (right) and co-accused Vincent Korir Cheruiyot at Milimani Law Courts on December 10, 2018. PHOTO/COURTESY
Waititu’s case is taking place after Kenya made headlines when DCI arrested and charged the powerful Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and PS Kamau Thugge. The two high-profile government officials were accused of conspiring to defraud the public, financial misconduct and failing to adhere to guidelines in procurement procedures relating to the construction of two multi-million dams, Kimwarer, and Arror dams.
In 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared corruption a ‘national security threat’ and vowed to tackle the vice head-on. On several occasions, he declared that no one who engages in corrupt practices would be spared.
President Uhuru is eager to leave behind a legacy that shows he fought corruption to the best of his ability. “The two cases [Rotich’s and Waititu’s] are an indication that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” analyst Peter Wendo said.
People have been behaving as if Uhuru is a dictator who should drag suspects to jail without going through the legal process. They want drastic action. But President Uhuru is delivering on this, too.
There are several ways of killing a cat. In the last ten days or so, Uhuru has done more to fight graft than anyone could have imagined. Uhuru has made hundreds of changes in top public service management, parastatals, and even the armed forces. These changes targeted those who are known or suspected to be corrupt but are too smart to be caught.
While bishops blame Uhuru for not eradicating corruption, they accept the proceeds of corruption in their churches. The Deputy President Dr. William Ruto, the declared enemy of the graft war, has been accused of roaming all over, dishing out to churches what is believed to be ill-gotten millions.
The church, like most critics, has behaved as if it is mandatory upon Uhuru, solely as a person, to fight graft in Kenya while others, including the church itself, stand by watching. This is hypocrisy.
True, many people will not believe that corruption fight in Kenya is on, without seeing DP Ruto in the dock, charged with a corruption offence. They feel that the government fears him, and would not touch him. But Uhuru’s method is also working, cutting the branches of a big tree before laying the axe on the big shoot itself.
To echo Joe Biden’s words; Corruption is cancer, cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity.”
And as good citizens, we must believe in the fight against corruption.
At this point also, it is necessary for Kenya and Somalia to think beyond the current imperatives. Prime Minister Farmaajo has in the past spurned diplomatic overtures, in favor of an outright settlement by the International Court of Justice.
Regardless of how strong such a posture makes him appear in the contest for power within Somalia, Farmaajo is walking a tight rope since the ICJ’s decision could go either way. Were that to happen, he would be left with no room for maneuvers between total loss of face and entering a hot conflict with Kenya.
Both countries and the region in general would be drawn into a diversionary and disruptive war that would still end on the negotiation table anyway.
Since the overthrow of Mohamed Siad Barre’s Government in 1991, and the subsequent civil war, the Federal Republic of Somalia (FRS) has been and remains a failed state. As a seasoned failed state, the FRS has lacked administrative, policing and military capacity to exercise effective sovereignty over its land and sea. This has led to terrorists seizing large swathes of its land, now in the hands of Al-Shabaab, and other terrorists, not to mention pirates over its 3000km-long coastline. On a human level, over three million Somalis have officially and unofficially run away from Somalia and the vast majority has found new homes in Kenya.
Ironically, in August, 2014 this failed state was fit and conscious enough to file a case before the International Court of Justice, at The Hague, concerning a dispute in relation to “the establishment of the single maritime boundary between Somalia and Kenya in the Indian Ocean delimiting the territorial sea, exclusive economic zones and continental shelf, including the continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical miles”.
The gist of Somalia vs. Kenya maritime dispute is that Somalia wants the maritime border to run diagonally as an extension of the land boundary; while Kenya wants it to run parallel to the latitude, eastwards, and south of Kyung.
Whatever the technical merits of these arguments might be, three things are worth noting for this commentary.
First, Kenya’s proposal for the boundary to run parallel to the latitude eastwards accords with the delimitation of maritime boundaries on the Indian Ocean coastline in relation to Tanzania, Mozambique, and South Africa.
Secondly, whilst Kenya’s coastline is 536km, Tanzania’s is 1,521km whilst Somalia’s is 3,333km, which is the longest in Africa.
Thirdly, in the probable event of Somalia winning the case, Kenya will lose to Somalia 26 percent (51,105km2) of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and 85 percent (95,320km2) of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.
In other words, Kenya will be rendered virtually landlocked despite having over 500km Indian Ocean coastline. This is a scenario that is not only unacceptable but should not depend on the decision of the ICJ.
Strictly speaking, the sharing of the world’s marine resources has historically been more of a function of power (economic, military, political and diplomatic) than of law. The islands of Guam and Puerto Rico are US territories, thanks to more to US power than any logic or decision of an international tribunal. Falkland’s islands are about 13,000km from Britain and only 1,500km from Argentina; but the United Kingdom exercises sovereignty over them precisely because Britain is a greater naval power than Argentina, of which the 1982 Falklands war is a testament.
Well aware of these realities of power, China has staked its long-time ambition to turn the South China Sea into a “Chinese lake” on building a powerful navy and economic dominance over neighbors with competing claims. In fact, in July 2016, the ICJ in the case of the Philippines vs. China decided in favor of the Philippines.
China rejected the arbitration award. And in acknowledgment of de facto power realities, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has indicated that China and the Philippines might enter bilateral talks to resolve the dispute. This is the route Kenya should follow.
In my view, Kenya must do all it takes to force Somalia to drop its claims over our limited maritime resources. Kenya must make it clear that any probable Somalia victory at the ICJ will be deemed illegitimate unless and until Africa’s Indian Ocean coastline is demarcated afresh to give Kenya a share of the ocean proportionate to the size of its coastline.
It goes without saying that Kenya will have to enlarge its military and naval capabilities, otherwise, it might contend with this injustice forever.
As a case in point, the ICJ consists of 15 judges. All the five permanent members of the UN Security Council namely, the US, China, France, Britain, and Russia have always been represented by one judge each. Presently, Africa has three judges from Uganda, Morocco and Somalia’s Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf who happens to be the current President of the Court.
Equally, significant is that Somalia filed its case against Kenya in circumstances that compel the conclusion that it was acting as a proxy of various European and Middle Eastern states. Considering now that transnational mining companies prefer dealing with failed states to stable states, Somalia has a head start over Kenya at the ICJ because with empty offers, it is likely to auction the oil and gas blocks more cheaply; and in the foreseeable future it will not have effective capacity to know how much resources would be funneled out of the disputed areas.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta
Finally, it is surprising that Somalia and its local supporters are saying Kenya has adopted an aggressive attitude towards it.
In all fairness, Somalia should stop assuming every Kenyan is naive simply because some Kenyan buffoons have been incited by Al-Shabaab to turn against their country. It is well known that over 50 percent of Somalis in Nairobi are recent immigrants from Somalia and the Somali population has been rising faster on the Kenyan side of the land boundary.
Unless Somalia stabilizes within the coming decade, there may be more Somalis in Kenya than in Somalia. The point here is that if Somalia’s over 3,000km coastline is the common heritage of all the Somali people, it must be supposed that Kenyan Somalis have a share of it. At the very minimum, this would require the FRS to drop its case against Kenya in order to maintain the brotherly relationship between our countries.
In this connection, the leaders of Kenyan Somalis and noisemakers among them should start proving their patriotism a little bit louder by publicly demanding of their cousins to leave Kenya alone